That feeling was there today: the inkling that summer may just have given way to autumn. Not entirely surprising, two weeks into September, but the changing of the seasons is an ambiguous business; never more so than when time comes for summer to wind down for another year and up sticks for the southern hemisphere.
Mostly the ambiguity lies in the unspoken debate we carry on with ourselves: Is the change permanent? Does it have that feel of finality? Will it return for a glorious last hurrah? Few of us are immune to this peculiar speculation; part melancholy, part wishful thinking and – much though I love the autumn with its colour and hedgerow harvests – I am as reluctant as anyone to finally concede the passing of summer for another year.
So it’s become an annual event round about now, going through this period of inconclusive musing on the gradual transition taking place all around until, at some point, all doubt is removed and summer is unequivocally no more. It’s a time for introspection: plans perhaps not quite fulfilled; tasks not quite completed; one more summer gone, one fewer left to come.
Perhaps it would be easier to be guided by the calendar: the precision of the solstices and equinoxes, with their pagan significance. Fixed points, brooking no debate; clear demarcations of the constantly changing balance between the hours of daylight and those of darkness.
Soon the autumn equinox will be upon us; another month and the clocks will revert to GMT. By then all doubt will be long gone; whatever the weather, summer will be well and truly departed.
Grey skies, drizzle, damp log pile – summer going on autumn.